Tag Archives: tutorial

A simple tutorial to set up an about.me site on github

I used to be a big fan of about.me: they enabled me to create a personal home page far better than what I could do. Unfortunately they stripped out some of the things that made the page look great, and when they did that, I decided to make my own about.me page, using free hosting on Github.

First off, here is what my page looks like: http://blm849.github.io

Here’s the steps I took to make it.

Before you start, here’s what you will need if you want to follow my steps. You’ll need:

  • a text editor. Notepad or Textpad or vi will all work fine.
  • some knowledge of HTML. Not too much. If you just follow the steps below, you should be fine. If you want some quick knowledge of HTML, see this: HTML Tutorial
  • some knowledge of  git and github.com. Again, not too much. If you follow the steps below, you should not need any. If you want some quick knowledge of git and github, see this: How to learn github fairly easily | Smart People I Know
  • Some words describing yourself that you want to have on the site.
  • An image file of yourself that you would want to serve as the background of the site. The one I had was a simple photograph I took with my smartphone.
  • A working file directory on your computer to hold your files.

Here are the steps:

  1. Set up your site on Github. To do this, follow the steps, here: GitHub Pages – Websites for you and your projects, hosted directly from your GitHub repository. Just edit, push, and your changes are live. Check it out. Use your working file directory to store the files. Once you complete the steps, and pointing your browser at http://username.github.io works, you are going to want to personalize the site. (Note: username = the name of your userid. e.g. my userid on github is blm849)
  2. Use a repository from someone else to make the job simpler. To create my site, http://blm849.github.io, I used a repository from here: https://github.com/weightshift/The-Personal-Page. It’s great. I simply downloaded the ZIP file, unzipped the files, and copied and replaced the files in the working file directory. In your case, I would recommend you take my repository and my files and modify them. I’ll explain in a bit. My repository and my files are here: https://github.com/blm849/blm849.github.io. Click on the “Clone or Download” button and then click “Download ZIP” to do this. Like I said, download the zip file, unzip the files, put them in your working file directory.
  3. Also, copy your background image (e.g. background.jpg) into the working file directory.
  4. Now edit the index.html file in the working file directory. Make the following changes and then file index.html:
    1. On line 5, change the text between <title> and </title>. This text will appear on the browser tab when someone opens your site.
    2. For lines 41-51, replace the lines I have in here with the words describing yourself. The only HTML I used here is:
      • the <br> tag to add some blank lines before the line “My name is….”. I found it looked better when I did this.
      • the <p></p> tag to format the words into paragraphs. Again, it makes it more presentable.
      • the <b></b> tag to make my name bold. I wanted it to stand out. If you don’t, remove those tags.
      • the <a></a>tag to have links to other web pages about me. If you don’t have links elsewhere, you can remove those.
    3. On line 58, replace “blm.jpg” with “background.jpg” (assuming that the file name of your background image is called background.jpg. If it is called something else, use that file name instead.)
  5. Once you have made the changes and saved index.html,  open it with your favourite browser. (To do this, right click on the file and select “open with…” and pick your browser.) Check to see if the words are correct and the background image is correct and the formatting is correct. If not, you will have to go back and edit the file and fix your errors.
  6. Once you are happy with it, do the following:
    1. Delete any background image files in the working file directory that are not yours (blm.jpg and nh_bg.jpg)
    2. Enter: git add –all
    3. Enter: git commit -m “secondary commit with my own information”
    4. Enter: git push -u origin master
    5. Point your browser at http://username.github.io and make sure it works.

That’s it!

One final note: I recommended using my repository and not the original one I worked on. I did that because I had some problems with displaying my page on my iPhone 6s plus. I added some files and tweaked the index.html file to get it to work. By using my package and my index.html file, there are less changes for you to make, I believe. That said, I am grateful for the code from the original repository and I am making sure I credit the owner of that repository (as should you).

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Making pesto without a recipe (and why you should)

Food52 has a number of good guides to making dishes and sauces without a strict recipe, including this one: How to Make Any Pesto in 5 Steps.

Once you do it once or twice, you will more or less be making it without a recipe.

I’d encourage you to skip basil and pine nuts and go with other greens and nuts, especially greens you may have in your fridge that are about to give up the ghost. I found that the combination of the oil and the greens give the pesto it’s sauce quality, while the nuts and cheese and garlic give it the flavour. So if you don’t like garlic (really?), drop it. Likewise if you have nut allergies.  For additional flavour, add some wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar or lemon juice to taste at the end. And of course, add salt to taste.

Why you should make pesto is easy: once you have it, you can add it to food in all kinds of ways to make your food tastier. It is a very versatile sauce.

Once you have pesto, you can add it to roast meats or vegetables. I opened up a boneless pork roast, spread it on the inside, and closed it up. You could do the same with a boneless chicken breast. (Or add some to just cooked fish.) I tossed my roasted vegetables in a bowl with some pesto until they were lightly and evenly coated.

Another idea is to make a pasta sauce with 2 parts pesto to 1 part cream and warm them in a pot while you cook some pasta until it is al dente. Then drain the pasta and toss it with the sauce until the pasta is covered.

If you have some tomatoes, quarter them and lightly toss them with some pesto for an easy salad.

Or take 1 part mayo and 1 part pesto, combine, and use as a sandwich spread.

Lots of ways to use pesto. Enjoy!

(Image via a link to the Food52 post.)

 

 

 

Want to learn more about Hadoop for free?

Here’s a place you can start: Hadoop For Dummies.
. IBM (my employer) is providing it. Once you get through this, there are lots of places online and in bookstores to get more information. But this is a good place to start.

How to learn Python: fast, slow and somewhere in between

As one of my areas of skill development this year, I am teaching myself Python (the programming language). I had a number of different sites offering help with it, but I have found these three the most useful, so far. I have found each of them useful, but I have spent the most time on “medium”. If you are interested in learning Python, I recommend you check these out:

Fast: Tutorial – Learn Python in 10 minutes – Stavros’ Stuff. Great as a cheatsheet or a quick intro to Python or if you used to do work with Python but haven’t done it in awhile.

Medium:the Python Tutorial from python.org. If you know other programming languages, this is a good starting point.

Slow: Learn Python the Hard Way. Good if you don’t know much about programming and want to make Python the first language you know really well.

VPN 101: what it is, how to set it up (quick links)

Here’s a collection of links on VPN, and VPN tunneling. Not authoritative, and not meant to endorse any one approach over another or even how to use the technology.

  1. Networking 101: Understanding Tunneling (obvious)
  2. Ensuring Network Security with a VPN (Virtual Private Network) – For Dummies
  3. VPN Tunnels Tutorial – Types of VPNS, Protocol & More (via About.com)
  4. What A VPN Tunnel Is & How To Set One Up (seems more oriented towards PCs than servers)
  5. How to Tunnel Web Traffic with SSH Secure Shell (oriented towards Linux servers)
  6. How to Set Up a Secure Web Tunnel | PCWorld (similar to #5)
  7. How to setup VPN server (PPTP on CentOS, RedHat and Ubuntu)? – Knowledgebase – PhotonVPS (if you want to set up a server)

Thoughts on bread making, technical (tips for new bakers from a new baker)

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I’ve been planning on making bread for…well, years. I made it decades ago, but for various reasons, I never got back into the habit of making it. The last time I tried was after I picked up the book “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” and hoped to jump on the no knead bandwagon. But the boule I made wasn’t very good and the book and my bread making went back on the shelf.

Two things happened to me recently to give it another go. First, I found a new copy of “The All New Purity Cook Book”. This book is the one I grew up with, and it is heavily oriented towards bread making. An old cook book, but a great one. Second, I wandered into a store and found a Black and Decker refurbished bread maker for a $29. I decided it was time to try making some bread again. You can see my results above. (And yes, the shapes are off, but hey, I am learning, just like you will be!)

Veteran bread makers won’t learn much from my notes below, but new bread makers might. Things I learned:

  1. Of the three approaches, the bread machine is the easiest. Not surprising. What I also learned is that the no knead and the traditional way are also not so hard. But the bread machine is still simplest. If you are feeling a bit courageous, skip buying the machine and try the other methods.
  2. I had fresh flour and fresh yeast: both are cheap, and if you aren’t sure how fresh yours are, I suggest you get some new stuff. Stale yeast and flour that is old and off will make it hard if not impossible to make good bread.
  3. I used to fret over water temperature and air temperature when I used to make bread, but this time I relaxed and just made sure the water was not hot and not cool, and didn’t worry if the temperature was 110F or some exact measure. It still worked. Likewise, for a warm place, I just stuck the bread in the microwave to rise. It was fine. I didn’t have to worry: the house wasn’t drafty or cool, but the microwave works well if it is drafty or cool in your place (or you have excessive AC, maybe?) Of course, don’t turn on the microwave while the dough is in there.
  4. My bread maker made a lot of noise at first and moved around a fair bit on the counter. Be careful not to have it too near the edge, and if all bread makers are as noisy as my refurb, don’t put it on before you go to bed.
  5. There’s not much to making bread maker bread, but follow the instructions. I made an exception for seasonings they wanted to add to the bread. I skipped those. But when it comes to water, oil, sugar and salt, flour and yeast, stick to the recipe.
  6. It didn’t call for it, but I brushed some butter on the bread after I took it out of the oven. It looks better in my opinion.
  7. As far a the five minute artisan bread, I messed it up the first time I tried it today. I tried it again, though. First, I halved the ingredients in the book for the master recipe. This was fine. Second, the trick to blending the flour into the water is to measure out the flour and slowly add it before you add more. The first time I more or less dumped it in and the dough was very difficult to work with. Also, the water ratio they use seems to be a bit slight. There’s always more flour then I can blend. I ran luke warm water, wet my hands, then mixed the loose flour in. It took me a few goes at this before I managed to incorporate all the loose flower into the dough. Without that extra water from my hands, I couldn’t get all the flour blended.
  8. The other benefit of halving the ingredients is that you have less bread in your fridge. It takes very little to mix up a new batch and my fridge is small and I don’t have room for all the dough they make with their recipe. If you are the same situation, chop the recipe quantities in half.
  9. The authors of the no knead bread recipe stress kosher salt: I used plain old table salt and it worked fine.
  10. Other than the things I mentioned, the no knead approach works great and the bagette I made was delicious: slightly chewy on the outside and nice a tender on the inside. I like the bread maker, but if you wanted easy bread, I highly recommend that book.
  11. Finally, I did the traditional approach and made the challah bread. There’s a few more steps, but it’s still really easy, right up to the part where you braid it. The braiding is not easy but the recipe itself is easy: you just need time.
  12. Rather than type in the recipe I used, I recommend this recipe because of the highly detailed description of how to braid the bread.  My recipe had all the same ingredients and steps. Two exception: 1) in my recipe, after the dough has risen for 1.5 hours, I punched it down to deflate it and then formed six equal sized dough balls. And then I covered them and let them rest for 10 minutes. Then I started to braid. When the braid was formed, I brushed it with vegetable oil. 2)  It also has more sugar than the recipe I made: mine only used 4 teaspoons of sugar for the whole recipe: this one uses more and the result should be a sweeter bread.
  13. This recipe will result in a whiter challah bread than others I have had. I suspect those recipes have more egg yolk added to the bread. It’s still delicious white.

Good luck making the bread. I am sure you will make nicer looking bread for sure.

How To Set Up Your Raspberry Pi For The First Time


If you just bought or are thinking of buying a Raspberry Pi, then two things:

  1. Congratulations!
  2. Read this: How To Set Up Your Raspberry Pi For The First Time – ReadWrite.

Not only will it help you get set up, but it also has a list of projects to get your started on doing something useful with it. As well, there’s some links to other resources.
There’s lots of material on Raspberry Pi’s on the Web, but if you haven’t found them yet, try this one at ReadWrite and get started.